Linus (Bishop of Rome)

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Portrait of Pope Linus in the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Linus (* in Etruria ; † 79 , probably in Rome ) was probably bishop of Rome from 67 to 79 . In early Christian lists Linus is named as the first bishop of Rome, it was not until the late 2nd or early 3rd century that the view of naming Peter as the first bishop and Linus as the second took hold. Linus is venerated as a martyr and saint in the Roman Catholic Church .


Traditional representations

According to the Liber Pontificalis , Linus was born in Volterra in what is now Tuscany ; he names Linus' mother Claudia and father Herculeanus. Linus was consecrated bishop by Peter . Before that he is said to have been his vicar . The information about Linus' episcopal time vary widely. Most sources let them begin at 67. The Catholic encyclopedia dates the beginning to the year of death of Peter, which, however, cannot be given with certainty. The Liber Pontificalis names the year 56, the Liberian catalog names 55, Eusebius of Caesarea 69. The discrepancy in the dates was explained by Rufinus with the fact that Linus had already served as his vicar during the apostle's lifetime and some sources incorrectly refer to this time would have.

According to tradition, Linus was a Roman bishop for eleven to fifteen years; the Liberian Catalog lists twelve years, four months and twelve days. Most of the sources give the year 79 as the year of his death, some the year 76, the Liber Pontificalis 67; Eusebius names the year 81. Most sources - especially the Liber Pontificalis, but not Irenaeus of Lyons  - state that Linus suffered the martyrdom . However, since there was no mention of the persecution of Christians in Rome at the time of his death, most historians consider this to be implausible. Tertullian names Clement of Rome as the successor of the apostle Peter, but regardless of the disagreement over the dates, all other ancient sources agree that Linus was the direct successor of Peter.

The apocryphal Latin descriptions of the deaths of the apostles Peter and Paul were wrongly ascribed to Linus, but they date from the 6th century. The fact that Linus imposed the decree according to which women had to keep their heads covered in the church is also considered refuted. In the 7th century, an inscription was found near the tomb of the apostle Peter, supposedly containing the name Linus; however, an error in deciphering is assumed here.

Modern view

According to the historian Volker Reinhardt , Irenäus “created a complete“ ancestral line ”for the bishops of Rome by transferring the present back into a different past […]”. Reinhardt denies that the names contained in the bishops' lists - including Linus - can be assigned to certain data or deeds.


His feast day is September 23 , after the Liber Pontificalis the day of his martyrdom. The church father Irenaeus identified him with that Linus, who is mentioned in the 2nd letter to Timothy 4:21 EU as a companion of Paul. After the Liber Pontificalis , Linus was buried in the Vatican . Linus is one of the canon saints and is named immediately after the apostles .


Web links

Commons : Linus  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Johann Peter Kirsch:  Pope St. Linus . In: Catholic Encyclopedia , Robert Appleton Company, New York 1913.
  2. Volker Reinhardt : Pontifex (see below literature ), p. 29.
predecessor Office successor
Peter Bishop of Rome
(the term Pope was first used after 384)
approx. 67–79